‘Divisive attitudes and tactics should remain in the past’- GAWU in Arrival Day message


See below the full message from the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU):

Arrival Day is yet another reminder of our nation’s rich cultural heritage. Our coming together from several backgrounds is what sets our country apart and indeed makes us unique. We of the GAWU, like many Guyanese, are proud of our rich, vibrant cultural tapestry that has brought our people closer together and created a spirit of oneness as we work towards advancing and developing our country.

As we reflected on Arrival Day 2023, we could not help but be reminded of the sordid attempts to divide our people on ethnicity. As our Union’s President, Seepaul Narine said on Labour Day 2023 such attitudes and tactics belong in the past. Indeed, we remain disturbed by such attempts as we, again, denounce those who sow seeds of division. We reiterate our stance of condemnation and urge our people to reject their racist narratives. We remind that their self-interest is a clear attempt to derail our national advancement towards betterment and prosperity.

Arrival Day is associated with our indentured immigrants hailing from Portugal, India, and China. Each group, like all other groups, have made profound contributions to our nation. Indeed, our country is richer for their efforts and stronger for their roles. Their coming to Guyana was occasioned by the cane cultivation. And, Arrival Day provides a suitable opportunity for reflection on the current state of the industry and their efforts of those who succeeded them.

The GAWU remains heartened by efforts to reverse the decline of the sugar industry. We have never hidden our disappointment over the intrigues of the former Coalition Government to minimize the industry. It is our concerted view that it was part of a larger plan to rid Guyana of sugar. Such plans, we believe, would have succeeded had the forces of democracy not stood in defence of our people’s franchise. Today, we are heartened by the efforts to resuscitate the industry and look forward to the resumption of Rose Hall Estate later in 2023.

We, at the same time, believe there is a need for the industry’s skillset to be strengthened. We recognize many skills are lacking and certain concerns have emerged regarding the current management. We remain unflinching that the role of the workers cannot be overemphasized. They have and continue to make meaningful contributions and we hold they must be treated fairly and justly. In this regard, we are disappointed with the inequity being perpetuated regarding internal and external resources. This imbalance should be addressed without further delay. We remain convinced that a motivated workforce is critical to the industry’s success and the assaults and indignation the sugar workers suffered during the term of the Coalition should never be forgotten but those wrongs should be righted.

There is a great deal to reflect upon as we celebrate Arrival Day 2023. We urge sober consideration as we participate in various observances to remember the contributions of those who played no small role in building our nation. At this time, the GAWU extends best wishes and greetings to all Guyanese on Arrival Day 2023.


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